Mar 15, 2021 - Health

Moderna begins testing on refrigerator-stable COVID-19 vaccine

A man in an Army uniform stands outside a car
A U.S. Army soldier administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine at the Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. on March 5. Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Moderna announced Monday that it has begun testing on a potentially refrigerator-stable version of its coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Moderna's "next generation COVID-19 vaccine," if found to be effective, could be handled by ordinary pharmacies that aren't equipped with ultra-low freezers, which have been an impediment in the vaccine rollout.

  • Moderna's current coronavirus vaccine must be stored at -20°C after being kept at standard refrigeration for 30 days prior to use.
  • Pfizer announced last month that its vaccine could be stored for two weeks at standard temperatures. Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine, the third shot authorized for emergency use by the FDA, can also be stored at routine refrigerator temperatures.

What they're saying: Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a press release that the vaccine "could facilitate easier distribution and administration in a wider range of settings, including potentially for developing countries."

Go deeper